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Picnic Sundays at Government House

By George Hadgelias

The grounds of Government House are regularly opened for members of the public to have picnics on the manicured lawns.

The next Picnic Sunday will be held on Sunday 4 June, from 11am to 2pm.

Gather your friends and family for a day out at Government House and enjoy a picnic in the immaculate grounds of the Fernberg Estate.

Admire the gardens that are steeped in historical, environment and social significance, enjoy a spot of tennis on one of Queensland’s original grass courts and BYO picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade of the century-old West Indian Cedar.

This community event is free to attend, however registrations are essential. Please register via the link below.

Register Here 

Key Information:

• The Fernberg Estate will be open for picnics within the grounds on Sunday 4 June between 11am and 2pm.

• Entry is free via Gate B at 168 Fernberg Road, Paddington.

• Visitors are required to bring everything they need for a picnic, including hats, sunscreen, water bottles, picnic blankets and food. Refillable water fountain onsite.

• Access to the Estate will be to designated areas only.

• Street parking only (available on and near Fernberg Road).

• Picnic days are wheelchair and pram accessible, and staff can assist with drop-offs.

• No Alcohol or pets permitted (with the exception of assistance dogs).

• While there is no access to the House itself during Picnic Sundays, the House is regularly open on other occasions for free guided tours.

• Picnic Sundays are free to attend; however registrations are essential.

Entry to the Estate and Gardens is dependent on compliance with current Government House Protocol and Queensland Government health guidelines.

History of the formal gardens

Formal gardens have been part of the estate from the time of Fernberg’s construction in 1865.

Botanist, John Bailey, and horticulturist, Ernest Bick, worked closely together to create the first Government House gardens and lawns in 1910 when the estate became the official residence of Queensland’s Governors.

Their successors have respected the original plan and the integrity of the site after carefully considering the potential impact on the overall character of the site and its heritage value.

Beds of brightly flowering annuals have maintained the cottage garden tradition, and impeccable lawns have been an important feature of Government House since 1910, enabling Governors to host garden receptions and ceremonies.

Rose rockeries, featuring almost 100 plants, have been preserved since the early twentieth century when rose trees, imported from France for Old Government House, were transplanted to Fernberg.

Roses also line the remnant carriage drive which once encircled the House. Among the tropical species which have thrived on the site are significant feature trees, including the magnificent cedar (Cedrela odorata) which has shaded the lawns at the front of the House for well over a century.

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